HB 45/SB 120: Creating Special Rights for LGBT Citizens or “Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act”
[Sponsors: Rep. Raschein (R)/ Sen. Abruzzo (D)] (Senate Equivalent: SB 120 (Identical)
Creates “Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act,” adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to Florida’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 as impermissible grounds for discrimination. This bill creates a new cause of action to sue employers and small businesses for discrimination by those in the LGBT community.
Effective Date: July 1, 2016.
HB 137/SB 258: Relating to Conversion Therapy
[Sponsors: Rep. Richardson (D)/Sen. Clemens (D)] (Senate Equivalent: SB 258 (Similar))
Prohibits persons licensed to provide professional counseling & various practitioners who perform counseling as part of their professional training from engaging in conversion therapy with person who is younger than 18. Effective: July 1, 2016.
HB 4019/SB 512: Relating to Marriage/Issuance of Marriage Licenses to Persons of the Same Sex
[Sponsors: Rep. Williams (D)/Sen. Soto (D)] (Senate Equivalent: SB 512 (Similar))
Deletes requirement that a marriage license only be issued to one male and one female; deletes a provision specifying that the term “marriage” in statute or rule means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the term “spouse” applies only to a member of such a union. Effective July 1, 2016.
SB 1666: Domestic Partnerships
[Sponsor: Sen. Sobel (D)] (Senate Equivalent: NONE)
Requiring the clerk of the circuit court to collect a filing fee for domestic partner registrations; including a domestic partner as a legally authorized person who may object to the use of unclaimed remains of a deceased person for medical education or research; adding “domestic partner” to the definition of the term “patient representative” as it relates to the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act; requiring assisted living facilities to allow domestic partners to share a room, etc. Effective: July 1, 2016.
“Florida Casino Gambling Expansion Act” aka Seminole Compact
The state’s renegotiated compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida will lead to the largest gambling expansion in state history, creating casinos to rival Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The Seminole Tribe casinos would be authorized to have the most slot machines in the world—“limited” to 6,000 machines at any one facility with an average of 3,500 machines across their seven facilities. The so-called “limit” on table games also rivals the Las Vegas Strip. The Tribe can have an average of 150 table games per facility with as many as 300 at any one facility. The compact would allow expansion of blackjack into the eight existing pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and allows other pari-mutuels around the state to offer “historic racing machines”, a new gambling game that plays the last eight seconds of a horse race after wagers are made. This compact also allows two new gambling facilities, one in Palm Beach County and another in Miami-Dade County that will have 750 slots and 750 video racing terminals.
This new compact was signed in December 2015 by Governor Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The compact will now come before the Legislature for approval. No bill is currently filed.
SB 1198: Department of Gaming
[Sponsor: Sen. Sachs (D)] (Senate Equivalent: NONE)
This 184 page bill creates a new state agency, the Department of Gaming, consolidating all legal gambling oversight into one agency—rather than 3. This Department, would be led by a Gaming Commission of 5 gubernatorial appointees, unelected by the people. These Gaming Commissioners would be appointed to 4-year terms for up to 2 terms. This bill would give the Department of Gaming the full authority and power to make, adopt, amend, or repeal rules relating to gaming operations and regulate authorized gaming activities in the state, including rules that specify the types of games that are authorized, the times during which such games are authorized, and the places at which such games are authorized.
Creating a Gaming Commission to determine gambling decisions, takes these important decisions away from elected officials, who can be held accountable for their decisions. This would make it easier to expand gambling in the state. Effective Date: Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2016.
HB 859/SB 1056: Relating to Education in Public Schools Concerning Human Sexuality
[Sponsors: Rep. Fullwood (D)/Sen. Bullard (D)] (Senate Equivalent: SB 1056 (Identical))
Removes abstinence only education from public schools (FL Statute 1003.46) and requires a broader teaching of sex ed, to include applicable to all genders and sexual orientation. Included in the bill is the option for a parent to exempt their child from this instruction and an option to review the instructional materials upon request.
This bill would require school districts (not an option) to give wide array of sexual education–with the understanding that adolescents will be sexually active/normalizing it, rather than dissuading this activity. This would also give parents the right to petition if the school district or school did not comply with the requirements of this bill. Effective Date: July 1, 2016.